Lab Safety Supply buys Rand

W.W. Grainger is growing again. The Lab Safety Supply subsidiary of the maintenance, repair, and operation supplies giant announced on Jan. 31 that it is acquiring the assets of Pawtucket, RI-based Rand Materials Handling Equipment for about $16 million.

Like the Lab Safety Supply brand, the $16 million Rand sells industrial storage and safety supplies via print catalogs and the Web. But Grainger spokesperson Robb Kristopher says that the customer overlap between Rand and Lab Safety is only about 10%.

“There is not a big customer overlap, so it makes sense for us to acquire Rand’s customer lists, assets, and names,” Kristopher says. “This gives us the opportunity to cross-market our catalogs over many different segments.”

In that regard the acquisition is similar to Lab Safety Supply’s purchases of agricultural maintenance supplier Ben Meadows in 2001, shop and agricultural supplies merchant Gempler’s in 2003, and AW Direct, a $28 million direct marketer of equipment for towing companies and service stations, in January 2005.

The Lab Safety Supply division does not break out revenue by title. But in 2003, the year the company acquired Gempler’s, its annual sales rose 7%, to $305 million. Sales jumped another 13%, to $380 million, last year, after it bought AW Direct.

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